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E3, once the video game industry’s biggest event, returns live in 2023

(Washington Post illustration; E3)

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, is returning in 2023 as an in-person event from June 13-16.

Once the gaming industry’s annual keynote event, E3 has diminished in importance over the years as other events have capitalized upon E3’s multiyear absence. The trade show is now embarking on a new strategy to win back fan interest and court major brands as it faces a crowded gaming event calendar, with dozens of virtual and live showcases each year.

Next year’s E3 will be launched in partnership with ReedPop, an exhibition company that hosts some of the world’s biggest entertainment trade events such as the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), New York Comic-Con and the Star Wars Celebration. As reported by, 2023′s iteration of E3 will be a hybrid event for both business attendees and fans: The first two days will be business-focused and exclusive to industry workers; the third day will include a mixture of events, with half the Los Angeles Convention Center dedicated to industry workers and the other half to general consumers; the final day will be dedicated to fans.

Some of the expo’s new features include an E3 app where attendees can organize in-person meetings, media assets delivered straight to inboxes before and during the show for industry workers and increased access for independent publishers to showcase games in the convention center’s Concourse Hall.

For years, E3 has been gaming’s biggest event. Is that still true?

The trade show’s success hinges upon who is willing to show up. While the covid-19 pandemic has hampered all in-person gaming events, E3 was hit particularly hard. The trade show canceled its event in 2020, transitioned to a fully virtual showcase in 2021 (when it was rebranded as “Electronic Entertainment Experience” to reflect the move) and announced an in-person event in 2022 that was later changed to online-only and eventually canceled altogether.

In the interim, other events, such as The Game Awards and Summer Game Fest have grown in prominence. Both are hosted and organized by Geoff Keighley, a longtime host at E3 until 2020 when he announced that he would not be returning to the trade show, citing concerns about its lack of innovation. Keighley’s Summer Game Fest in 2021 was a resounding success: The show received over 25 million live streams with a peak of 3 million concurrent viewers globally, according to figures shared with The Washington Post, and it hosted the first gameplay reveal of FromSoftware’s mega hit, “Elden Ring.” Despite both Summer Game Fest and E3 both being slated for June 2023, Keighley has maintained that the two events are not competitors.

Although E3 has repeatedly cited the pandemic for its event planning woes over the past few years, the cracks were already forming before any global lockdown orders came into play. Sony and Electronic Arts have both been absent from E3 since 2019, opting to rely mostly on in-house conferences instead.

Despite a lukewarm 2021 event and increasingly crowded landscape, E3’s relevance and impact is still undeniable. But its hibernation for the past few years has given other showcase events a window to proliferate and grow. For E3 to maintain its cachet, it must succeed in its plan to be a trade show for industry insiders as well as a celebration of upcoming releases for fans.